President Bush is set to address the country later Wednesday on the national disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Bush will speak from the White House Rose Garden at 2100 UTC (5 pm EDT).

During the flight from Mr. Bush's ranch in Texas, the president's plane , Air Force One, flew over the hurricane-damaged areas along the U.S. Gulf Coast. While passing over the flooded city of New Orleans, White House spokesman Scott McClellan quoted Mr. Bush as saying "It's devastating. It's got to be doubly devastating on the ground."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president will likely visit the affected region later this week.

The spokesman said Mr. Bush held a video conference with top advisers before leaving his Texas ranch. The discussion focused on saving lives and developing a long-term plan for dealing with displaced residents.